The "Hot Games" list in our TouchArcade app [Free] as well as right on our website is always a great tool for gauging what games our community is currently buzzing about. Over the weekend, the Hot Games list brought Calculords [$2.99] to my attention, and I'm very thankful that it did. Calculords is the first game from long-time games journalist, comedian, and all-around cool dude Seanbaby, and it's quite impressive for a first effort.

First off, Calculords is an incredibly unique concept. It's a card-battling game at its core, mashed up with lane-based battling where all the action plays out. On top of that, the entire gameplay is built around simple math. Wait! Don't run away. It's not as bad as it sounds if you're not a big fan of math. And as the name eludes to, there's even a built-in calculator to help you if you need it.

Gameplay is pretty much what you'd expect from a CCG. You'll build a deck of various types of units, and then take turns against an assortment of AI opponents. As mentioned, battles play out on a lane-based playing field, so there is a lot of strategy in where you end up deploying your units. In fact, if this was all there was to Calculords it would still be a fantastic game.

calculords

However, the math element is what really pushes Calculords into "brilliant" territory. You see, in order to deploy units you'll need to come up with the number required on each card using a selection of nine numbers on a grid. So, if a certain unit requires a 24 you can multiply a 6 with a 4, combine a 10 with a 2 and multiply the sum by 2, or basically any other equation you can think of that nets you a 24.

You'll do this for each unit you deploy, and the real kicker is that you'll get a bonus for utilizing every card in the grid during each turn. This leads to some really creative uses of your math skills. Sure, you could just add 6 with 6 and end up with that 12 you need, but if you multiply 3 with 1 and then add 3 and then multiply all that by 2, you'll still end up with 12 but you'll have used more cards in the process. It's this sort of thinking that really makes Calculords stand out.

Now, it's very possible you aren't a huge fan of math, but don't be quick to dismiss Calculords because of that. Like I said, there's a calculator built right into the game so you're free to try different combinations of equations until you get the result you need, and if you make a mistake you can simply clear and start over. Having a basic understanding of what addition, subtraction and multiplication is is important, but actually being good at math isn't. In fact, after spending just a little time with Calculords the math portions become second nature.

calculords2

I could jibber jabber about Calculords all day, but your best bet is to simply download it for free and give it a try yourself. The tutorial shouldn't take more than 15 or 20 minutes to complete, and it does a great job of explaining the ideas in the game. By then end you should be able to tell whether Calculords is your cup of tea or not. As for the free to play elements, they're nothing to worry about. There's no consumable IAP, instead you can buy additional card packs for two bucks a pop. Additionally, you can purchase a membership to the "Calculords Fun Club" for two bucks which will disable the infrequent in-game ads, give you a bonus card after every match, and increase the rate at which you'll receive rare cards.

I'm not super far into Calculords yet, and I'm also not the most skilled at it, but I'm having a blast nonetheless. For a free download it's definitely a game everyone should consider checking out. The impressions in our forums have been overwhelmingly positive too, so give it a shot and drop by the forum thread or the comments below to let us know what you think.

  • http://reillystroope.com/ Reilly Stroope

    Math already embarrasses me enough on a daily basis.
    Oh, built in calculator? We cool.

  • thiagovscoelho

    Anyone else get Pixel Kingdom vibes from this?

  • hellscaretaker

    running on the ipad it doesnt respond well to key presses at all?

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Experienced the same thing on stream today, the slow deliberate taps you need to make are really weird.

    • Slothwerks

      Reporting the same on my iPad 3. I got used to it, but you have to be really slow and deliberate about it.

    • Jake7905

      Experiencing the same problem on my IPad Mini Retina. Still, it's such a great game, even with the touch issues.

      • GrumpyM

        same on my iPad air. Fighting through it and loving it though.

    • http://bytefair.com/ Paul Graham

      It does, but you have to be deliberate about the presses. I found I was trying to hit stuff too quickly. I'm sure it will be fixed but press the buttons one at a time and you'll find it works.

      • loophole

        Does this happen on newest iPhones?

      • http://bytefair.com/ Paul Graham

        I was playing it on an iPad Air, so I would guess it's a programming issue.

  • Slothwerks

    Really enjoying this so far. I thought it was yet another one of those somewhat tired 'lane defense' games, but the unit deployment mechanic, combined with the deck building, is really innovative. Worth a look.

    One thing I will say; I think the difficulty ramp is hard. After Level 3, you unlock a new zone, which is MUCH harder than the first. I'd recommend you keep battling the first guy and amass stronger cards + levels before tackling that level.

    • Jake7905

      That's my only issue with the gameplay, it could use a couple of more beginner levels besides Fancy Bot.

      • Slothwerks

        Yeah, it's a bit unfortunate, because it leads some people to state that IAP is required (I don't think it is)

  • Ramaz1234

    Game is fantastic, thanks for the great article Jared!

  • cartmanthegreat135

    Really enjoying the game. Simple and fun. Really hoping for pvp that would take the game to a whole other level!

  • Cheeseball

    I just tried this and out and THIS is how game developers should implement IAP. Permanent "expansion pack" purchases and ad-removing, yet gameplay improving enhancements.

    • Slothwerks

      Absolutely, I'm very happy to support developers who sell expansion content vs. consumables. Already got the $1.99 IAP for extra cards after a win, and will probably pick up a few of the expansion packs, after I decide which ones to get.

      I like that the packs are fun/thematic, but not necessarily more powerful - just different.

      • Cheeseball

        Yup, I just got the CALCULORDS FUN CLUB IAP to get rid of the ads and get some bonus cards.

      • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

        All the cool kids should join the club! It's fun!

      • vicsark

        I'm in :)

  • troyster

    So addicted to this game

  • Roleki

    Dungelot could learn from this IAP model.

  • Opinion

    SeanBaby's articles on cracked are lifeeeeee

  • piwakawaka

    Annoying that it loses your current battle if you switch to another app, even briefly.

    • athros

      You might want to submit a bug report - I've never had that happen, and I switch apps all the time.

  • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

    I can't say enough about this game. First off, Seanbaby. Secondly, what do the kids say? Amazeballs? Yes Calculords is something like amazeballs. I'm no math wiz, well I wasn't when I started. But now after playing, I feel like one. You can customize the deck along with the numbers so they compliment each other. Also keep an open mind when manipulating the numbers. Creating 1's and 0's is super useful to achieve Calculord bonus. Also negative integers aren't off limits.

    Get this game. It's Free to Play done RIGHT. The developer has hinted at MP which will make this a home run.

  • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

    One more thing. Seanbaby made a Calculords Tip Guide which is a super helpful overview and great insight for beginners. I posted it in the forums with a link to the original tip guide.on page 10, second post down.